When honing your personal development, many new habits require action and practice. But how can you refine the art of doing nothing?
While it may seem like an oxymoron, the practice of relaxing and enjoying the moment also requires a conscious effort at least to start. Much of our society encourages and values productivity, and often, it seems that the more you do, the more you are worth.
The irony is that if you are constantly busying yourself with tasks, the less efficient you will eventually become. Mental, physical, and spiritual burnout is a real issue, and it presents itself most commonly in fast-paced, high-pressure, capitalist environments.
Learning to slow down is indeed an art form because it takes skill and refinement. But if you can master the sweetness of doing nothing, it will allow you to savor the riches of life.
1. The Importance Of Doing Nothing
Taking a break from the hectic pace of life’s responsibilities is crucial to your overall well-being; you cannot serve others or yourself from an empty tank. Learning to pause gives yourself time to replenish your reserves, and if that is not incentive enough, doing nothing helps you do more in the long run.
When was the last time you enjoyed a comfortable silence with a one loved or a moment of quiet with your own thoughts? The concept of doing nothing “serves an important purpose… in that, it provides a sense of connection, not only to each other but with yourself.”
Contrary to popular belief, doing nothing doesn’t mean being lazy, just as the act of self-care is not a luxury but a means of self-preservation. If you are looking to treat yourself and form a more meaningful bond (with yourself or others), try stopping instead of shopping or going inward instead of going out.
2. The Essential Practice of Doing Nothing
It may seem hypocritical to ‘practice’ doing nothing, but like any new approach, there is always a learning curve to master. If the idea of doing less makes you feel uncomfortable, it might be helpful to look at ways to start to implement this into your life.
When was the last time you took delight in smelling a flower or studied the colors in a painting? It’s important to remember that doing nothing is less about inaction and more about appreciating what is in front of you in real-time.
To accommodate a reduction in your otherwise busy life, try integrating these helpful exercises into your routine.
Schedule downtime into your day. Treat the practice of relaxing as something that is just as important as responsibilities and meetings.
Start small. Doing nothing may sound lovely, but if you are unfamiliar with this practice, it may feel overwhelming. Try laying still for five or ten minutes each day. Once it becomes more natural, you can increase at your comfort level
Remain in Savasana (Corpse Pose) during a yoga class. Savasana is generally the last position within a series of yoga poses; it is a chance to rest your body and absorb your practice. But Savasana is a pose within itself, and remaining in this position is still doing yoga.
Enjoy daily meditation. Meditation is excellent for increasing self-awareness through the non-judgmental observation of your thoughts. It gives you a chance to go inward and to focus on your breath.
Try mindful eating. Instead of scarfing down your plate in front of the T.V. take the time to slowly enjoy your meal. Notice the colors of your food. Savor each bite, observe the textures and the flavors, and try to eat in silence. Give thanks to yourself for nourishing your body.
Spend time outside. The sights and the sounds of nature can provide soothing properties that can help us to unwind. Take the time to listen to the birds sing or the crunching of grass beneath your feet. Walk barefoot when you can, in order to connect more deeply to the earth below.
3. The Benefits of Doing Nothing
Do you place more importance on being productive rather than doing nothing because you think it will lead to happiness and success? If that is your current mindset, you may want to consider the benefits of slowing down.
In Veronique Vienne’s book ‘The Art of Doing Nothing: Simple Ways To Make Time For Yourself,’ she offers tips on ways to reduce stress that overachievers are prone to experience.
And it’s no secret that those who take the time to enjoy a restorative rest are actually more industrious in the long run. Check out some of the wonderful advantages that you can receive, simply by doing nothing!
Increases your creativity
Strengthens your ability to solve problems
May help you to your sleep better at night
Reduces stress and anxiety
Will help you to be a kinder and more empathetic person
The next time that you feel that you are falling behind or struggling against the clock stop to recharge instead of pushing yourself harder.
Even the simple act of taking five to ten minutes each day to meditate can increase your stamina and your ability to process information; doing nothing can give you a whole lot of something!
4. Doing Nothing Is An Event
Minimizing action and (temporarily) ceasing productivity is an excellent way to add calm and simplicity to your life. For many of us, this will go against the pace that we have become accustomed to, and as such, doing nothing can seem like quite an event.
Regardless of any planning that you may need to do, in preparation for slowing down, the act of self-care is something that we should all prioritize. Even if doing nothing feels uncomfortable, your body and mind will thank you.
The Italian phrase ‘Dolce far Niente’ translates into the ‘sweetness of doing nothing.’ While your life may not permit a leisurely trip to Tuscany, you can draw from this inspiring concept towards refining the art of doing nothing